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By 13 March 2015 | Categories: feature articles

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There are two ways you could have a particularly spine-tingling Friday the 13th evening and weekend. The first is to hire someone 6.8” or larger, wearing a bloodstained butcher’s apron and a white hockey mask to follow you around. Or, and the safer option, is to dip into some of the past greats and pick and choose from the classic movies and games to potentially spend the next couple of days biting your nails over.

Classically fearsome movies

Alien/s

Although there are plenty of much newer sci-fi horror movies from which to choose, Alien and its sequel, Aliens are still classic sci-fi horror, that decades later, still holds their own to bring the fear. Before there was The Walking Dead, Ellen Ripley was the iconic survivor, managing to outlast a synthetic robot gone mad, the isolation of space as her colleagues died around her and of course, the apex predator itself, the Xenomorph. As if that wasn’t enough, she went back for seconds and thirds (and fourths). Now that’s hardcore.

Acceptable alternatives: Splice, Species (but only the first one)

For a laugh (or groan): Alien vs Predator

Cape Fear

Take Robert De Niro as a crazed ex-con psychopath seeking vengeance on a lawyer, played by a younger Nick Nolte, a tense story game of cat-and-mouse, and possibly the best face off on a boat we can recall, and you have a cracking good movie. While perhaps leaning more towards thriller than horror, it still packs the tension in tight, and is worth well a revisit if you like your movies to leave you on edge. 

Acceptable alternatives: se7en, Vacancy

For a laugh (or groan): Arguably the best The Simpson’s episode ever, Cape Feare

Cabin in the Woods

While Cabin in the Woods starts off somewhat scary, it becomes – well, something else – about midway through. If your initial impressions are that it is just another torture porn movie, in the vein of Saw and its unending sequels, stick with it for a bit. While we are still debating whether this oldie but goodie was playing it serious or intentionally mocking your typical teenagers in the woods horror movie, let’s just say if you haven’t seen it, then you absolutely must.

Acceptable alternatives: Cube, Scream, Descent

For a laugh (or groan): Any of The Final Destination movies, it doesn’t matter which.

Horrifically good Games

Dying Light

Ok, we cheated. This, and the next couple of games, are relatively newer, but still well worth your consideration. Currently amongst our favourite survival-horror game taking chunk-sized bites out of our time, Dying Light (review) is possibly one of the best zombie survival games we have had the pleasure of squaring off against. With both shambling and terrifyingly fast and agile zombies, a terrific skills tree and an array of salvage to find, the game manages to convey perhaps one of the more immersive zombie survival experiences we’ve enjoyed to date. The most horrifying thing about it? How much time you can lose pursuing just one more side mission.

Acceptable alternatives: Dead Rising 3

Alien: Isolation

If you’re really brave, and want a memorable Friday the 13th, here is what you do – turn down the lights, shut the door, close the curtains and then play Alien:Isolation. Bringing many of the elements which made Alien (the movie) so compelling, Alien: Isolation similarly sees you trapped in space, with synthetics turned murderous and a creature that can definitely hear you scream (and will bite your face off when it does).  

Acceptable alternatives: Dead Space

The Evil Within

Gruesome, gory, frightening – if these are words you gravitate towards in your interactive entertainment, then you don’t get much more of them than in The Evil Within. Investigating a bloody massacre in a mental institute, you find yourself having to fight for your life and maybe your sanity when you and your detective partner answer an emergency call for help. After playing this one, don’t expect to sleep easy though.

Acceptable alternatives: Resident Evil: Revelations

Bioshock

An oldie but goldie, the original Bioshock certainly knew how to dial in the tension some years back, and in fact, it still does several years later. Indeed, trapped in the claustrophobic confines of an underwater city, and surviving the mutated former residents driven completely psychotic are not the only horrors ahead.The game tests your morals to their utmost, asking uncomfortable questions about humanity and ambition and how far you will go to stay alive.

Acceptable alternatives: Bioshock Infinite 

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